- JamPlay is one of the biggest online platforms for guitar tuition.
- How does it stack up against YouTube and other competitors?
- We go in-depth and deliver the verdict.
As our world shifts more and more online, online learning resources have only got better. Especially with the pandemic taking over the world, online resources are sometimes the only way to learn anything these days.
But how about the musicians? How do we keep learning and progressing on our instrument? Traditional music education like private lessons or music schools is much harder to access nowadays and music education has been shifted to online learning just like all the other kinds of education.
Luckily for guitar players, JamPlay exists. JamPlay is a website that covers all the genres and has some of the best instructors teaching multiple step-by-step structured lessons available at your fingertips.
JamPlay is undoubtedly one of the best guitar learning websites. It offers high-quality technology for learning at your own pace, and it’s really hard to beat the price! It’s great for beginners and experienced guitar players alike because you get access to specific lessons by some of the world’s top working guitarists.
In addition to the newly designed and well-structured beginner courses, JamPlay perhaps shines brightest for their intermediate and advanced guitar courses. They offer the most diverse variety of genres covering the most popular genres on the guitar to the most obscure ones.
But the important thing is that JamPlay is able to recruit the hottest guitarists of our generation from Horace Bray to Tosin Abasi, famous guitar educators like Berklee Educator, to guitar legends like Bumblefoot.
By now, you probably have a lot of questions about how the curriculum works and how the lessons are structured, to what kind of materials the lessons cover. So without further ado, let’s dive deep into our review of JamPlay.
When you first log in to your account, the first thing you see is your progress. Your homepage shows the latest lessons that you’ve either completed or are working on and this is the main advantage of using JamPlay instead of YouTube videos. You can always track your progress and see what you have already done and then plan out what you want to learn in the future.
As you scroll down the main page, you can check out all the newest courses and upcoming live courses. It’s always exciting to log on to JamPlay because of the updated content.
On the top navigation section, you have buttons like Home, My JamPlay, Lessons, Live, Tools, Community, and Extras.
When you go to the My JamPlay page, you can see all the lessons that you took. An interesting feature is you get “JamPoints” for each lesson that you take. When these JamPoints are added up, you get access to extra content in the future.
Phase 1 – Beginner Lessons
Phase 1 is exclusively dedicated to beginners. There are beginner courses available for both acoustic and electric guitar. All the courses are recorded in their studio and the quality is constantly amazing throughout all the different lessons.
The system for choosing your lesson is a little different than a beginner-based guitar lesson website like Guitar Tricks. In Guitar Tricks, you get a specific core curriculum that all the beginners follow when you start out learning the guitar. But in JamPlay, you get a list of teachers, each with their own curriculum that covers all the materials.
For some, the number of options and the decision-making process might be overwhelming to choose from and that’s certainly a downside for this website.
But for others, it’s actually freeing to choose a teacher you like based on their teaching style or personality. What’s more, each teacher will cover all the basics, so it doesn’t matter what skill level you are at.
For example, instructor Lisa Pursell offers beginner electric guitar courses. She covers all the materials from the basics of electric guitar, tuning, learning your first open guitar chords, to creating your own solos.
There are an equal amount of course options for acoustic guitar, covering lessons from basic open chords, strumming patterns, using capos, and learning simple songs. Many of these beginner courses span over 50+ lessons. If you ever get bored learning from one teacher, you can always find another teacher from the huge list and keep yourself focused.
There are even options for kids. Instructor Steve Eulberg teaches a kid-friendly 19-lesson course just for young adults and children. His course is slower-paced and covers everything from how to hold the guitar, finger placements, tuning, and basic chords.
If you feel overwhelmed by the huge database of beginner courses, you can always just pick a course randomly and you can be sure that your instructor will cover all the ground and teach you everything you need to progress to the next level.
(Are you strapped for cash but still want to be able to record professional guitar takes? We’ve got you covered with our guide to recording electric guitar on a budget!)
JamPlay’s Video Player
There is no doubt that the quality of the video player and its functions play an important role in helping you get the most out of your lesson. All their lessons are recorded in a professional studio and every video maintains professional quality.
JamPlay’s video player offers slow-motion and you can choose your playback rate from options like 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. Another effective tool is the looping function, where you can loop a selected section continuously. You can also use the looping tool with a combination of slow-motion control, which is extremely handy for anyone trying to nail a new song or technique.
You can also control the video quality with ease. You can go HD for a big home theatre set up, or more compressed for a mobile-friendly experience.
The most impressive technology they use is their interactive tab, where you can see the real-time tab, standard notation, and guitar fretboard diagram all at the same time. It’s undoubtedly one of the most advanced interactive sheet music tools available online.
The video player can easily be used on computers, laptops, phones, and iPads without any additional plug-in.
Underneath the video player, you get access to a lot of supplemental material for each lesson. You can quickly download PDF files showing the standard notation or tab. JamPlay also gives you PDFs of all materials including the examples played on the video, related songs, and even diagrams of chords.
Also, there is a space where you can directly ask the teacher a question and read other member’s comments on the lessons. With these functions, you are constantly engaged with the teacher and the community.
Phase 2 – Genres And Skills
Phase 2 of JamPlay offers more variety of genres than any other online guitar resource.
The full list of the genres includes jazz, blues, fingerstyle, metal, Hawaiian slack key, bluegrass, rock, Celtic, classical, country, surf, funk, flamenco, folk, RnB, soul, reggae, gospel, and pop.
Each genre has instructors that specialize in the style, which means you get invaluable insight from someone with plenty of experience. If you’re lucky, you might just be able to find your favorite guitarist teaching their own
For example, for heavy metal, you have the legendary Glen Drover from Megadeth teaching his own in-depth curriculum. It covers everything from free form melodic soloing, legato playing in metal, to creating melodic solo ideas in heavy metal. Plus, it’s a great chance to scroll through some of the other styles of music that you haven’t played before and get to learn them!
(If you’re into metal, check out our guide to the best passive pickups for metal guitarists!)
Outside the genre-based learning, you also have the skill-based learning in JamPlay. It covers everything from lead guitar concepts & techniques, speed, reading music, theory and improvisation, 12 string guitar, singing with guitar, rhythm training, ear training, studio skills, engineering, and more. This is handy for guitar players who tend to just focus on playing the guitar and tend to forget about the whole musicianship side of things.
I know personally, as a guitarist, if you want to play at a high level with other musicians in an ensemble, your musicianship is so important.
You need to have a good ear, be good at sightreading, understand the theory, be great at deciphering various rhythms, and also know tips and tricks when you’re recording at a studio or setting your tone for a gig.
JamPlay covers a lot of these materials and in this context, it’s almost like a music college. These are very precious jewels of information that you can only get from experienced guitarists. You will have access to so much of this “insider information” once you join JamPlay!
Each topic gives you multiple course options from different guitarists, and the standard of teaching is certainly exceptional. Just to give you an example, for the lead guitar course, professional guitarist Dennis Hodges teaches an extensive course about how to develop solos, lead guitar concepts, improvising as a lead guitarist, and lead techniques like legato, sweep, and alternate picking.
For the topic of speed, multiple instructors give you their own stylized course covering topics like sweep picking, playing dexterity, coordination, warm-up techniques, and more.
The best way to utilize these resources is to pick multiple courses over various topics and work on them every day.
I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how much you grow as a guitar player after slowly developing all sides of your musicianship and guitar playing.
Phase 3 – Songs
Phase 3 covers songs of all the included genres in JamPlay. The songs are categorized by instructor, genre, difficulty, lesson length, and song lesson.
JamPlay offers instructions for songs by famous artists in various genres like The Beatles, ZZ Top, Fall Out Boy, Jimi Hendrix, Willie Nelson, Demi Lovato, Eric Clapton, and more.
They obviously can’t make lessons of all the popular songs in the world and so there will be many times when you won’t be able to find your favorite song on the list. But this is something that’s expected, because with each song, JamPlay clearly spends a lot of time making detailed lessons and supplemental files.
One thing you can expect is that you can probably find the instruction of a song that is in a similar style or by the same artist. In that case, you’ll still be able to learn about playing your favorite styles of music.
For all the songs, you can expect an extremely comprehensive break-down, covering materials from the composition of each section, finding the right tone for the song, demonstration of the whole song, along with supplementary materials that you can download. By using the slow-down or looping features, you won’t have to worry about not being able to figure out what the instructor is playing on the guitar.
Phase 4 – Songwriting
In the last phase, JamPlay focuses on the topic of songwriting. This phase is geared toward advanced players who already have a certain understanding of music theory, various song forms, and a solid understanding of the guitar in general. Writing your own songs is a great exercise for putting everything you learned together to create music.
Each instructor teaches something entirely different. For example, the acclaimed guitarist and songwriter David Wilcox has a series of four lessons teaching his own approach and ways of songwriting, which are offered as a series of masterclasses.
Then there is a course taught by guitarist Mark Kroos that focuses on writing folk and acoustic songs on the guitar. Or, you can take a songwriting course focusing on Travis picking, rhythm guitar, and writing chord progressions. Unfortunately, most of these courses focus on acoustic guitar, but there are still some songwriting courses offered on an electric guitar like the course by Lauren Passarelli that focuses on rock guitar.
Outside the standard JamPlay curriculum, there is something else that JamPlay has that will excite any guitar player! You already know that JamPlay has so many notable guitarists teaching on their website, but to go even further, these world-class guitarists teach their own set of masterclasses.
To get you more excited, here are some of the famous guitarists that teach on this website: Ariel Posen, Horace Bray, Mark Lettieri, Yvette Young, Artur Mendes, Tosin Abasi, Andy James, Mike Dawes, Brent Mason, Bumblefoot, Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Steve Smyth, and Sarah Longfield.
What I love about this list is that JamPlay was able to hire world-class guitarists in so many different styles of music and guitarists of both older and younger generations. For example, JamPlay has masterclasses by Brent Mason, who is one of the most legendary country session guitarists who recorded with artists like Chet Atkins, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Blake Shelton, and Neil Diamond.
There is also Bumblefoot, who is a legendary rock guitarist known for playing in Guns N’ Roses and Asia. On the other hand, you can also find a huge list of guitarists that are popular with this generation – Tosin Abasi, Mike Dawes, Andy James, Mark Lettieri, Yvette Young, etc.
So it’s highly personalized to the individual guitarist and if you’re already a fan, it’s an amazing chance to learn how the world-class guitarists approach their instrument!
In The Style Of…
In this section, instructors on JamPlay focuses on one legendary guitarist and really dissect their playing style. They cover a wide range of guitarists from Tom Morello, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Tommy Emmanuel and so much more.
Each of these legendary guitarists has such a distinct style of playing, and having access to tips and tricks on how to sound like them is so helpful for any guitar player. The instructors cover the guitarist’s techniques, melodic phrases, soloing and improvising, and excerpts from their playing.
Another useful feature in JamPlay is the live courses. Nowadays going on live social media is such a common sight to see and it’s definitely an effective way to connect with your viewers in real-time.
You get to see other people’s reactions and comments as they appear and most importantly, you can get your questions answered in real-time. JamPlay is very smart with utilizing the live feature on the website and it works just like any other social media live event. You get updates on the main page about what the live event is going to be about and these happen every single week!
Each live course is focused on a single topic related to guitar like jamming in a band, writing chord progressions, learning iconic licks, merging pentatonic shapes and so much more. Even better, each live course is recorded and saved so you can access them again anytime you want.
This is super useful if you really like a particular live course and want to watch it multiple times to fully grasp the information. Again, the diversity of the lessons is unbelievable. There’s really something for everybody in these live courses.
JamPlay also hosts daily open Q&A sessions with the instructors and you can ask any question that you have!
Extra Features And Content
JamPlay also boasts a huge library of additional resources that you can refer to anytime you want. It covers a whole wide range of chords, scales, jam tracks, and more.
Lick And Riff Library
The lick and riff library is a huge list of different licks that are played during the lessons. You can browse this library by genre, type, teacher, difficulty, and length.
Chord and Scale Library
Chords are categorized by the root note of the chord from C through B and cover most of the existing chords from major, minor, dominant, 7th chords, diminished, and all sorts of extensions. They give you clear chord diagrams with different fingering options.
Scales are divided into diatonic, pentatonic, blues, symmetric, and exotic – which is basically all the scales you would ever need to learn in your life and more.
They are extremely well presented with explanations of the music theory of the scale, various fingering options, diagrams, and patterns. JamPlay’s presentation of the scale is honestly one of the best I’ve seen anywhere.
The tools section also gives you access to high-quality jam tracks in all keys and all genres, which is crucial if you want to practice soloing and improvising.
Other than the jam track, you also get an online metronome, tuner, chord names, and a training game. The training game has simple exercises like the “Music Notation Quizzer”, fretboard memorization, and note identification.
1 on 1 Consultation
For an extra cost, you can choose to have a one-on-one lesson with a JamPlay instructor. This is the perfect space for you to get feedback on your own playing, ask personal questions, and learn directly from the teacher.
Cost And Pricing
Here is the current cost of membership on JamPlay:
- 1 month – $19.95
- Quarterly Membership – $49.95
- Yearly Membership – $159.95
Despite its endless resources from the world-class instructors in all variety of styles, JamPlay costs slightly less than Guitar Tricks and is on the cheaper side compared to its competing guitar-learning websites.
(If you want to compare JamPlay to Guitar Tricks, check out our in-depth review of Guitar Tricks!)
Like many other websites, they offer a free 1-month trial!
Last but not least, the community section is what really brings all the JamPlay members together. The community feature is where all members can discuss their questions, talk about what they have learned, what they want to learn, and more. You have over 500,000 members from all corners of the world to talk with!
In the community section, you can host or join forums to discuss specific topics, share your music, and more.
JamPlay is an excellent online resource for guitarists of any skill level. With their professional lesson plans, expert teachers, and intuitive learning tools, JamPlay is a fantastic investment for guitarists looking to challenge themselves and learn new skills.
With a one month free trial and affordable pricing options, JamPlay is a budget-friendly choice for those who are hesitant about taking face-to-face lessons or who just prefer to learn at their own pace.